Tipp school facilities committee reconvenes

By Cecilia Fox - cfox@civitasmedia.com

TIPP CITY — On Thursday night, the Tipp City school facilities committee reconvened after going nearly a year without meeting.

The district was in line to accept funding this year, but the school board decided to defer the process after a series of changes in requirements from the Ohio School Facilities Commission.

“We’ve had a number of twists and turns,” Superintendent Gretta Kumpf said.

Because the schools could be tapped for funding as early as October, the district held another meeting of the facilities committee to discuss its options.

The district has been considering plans for the construction of a new pre-kindergarten through eighth grade building. But learned this spring that the OSFC determined the high school building to be 40,000 square feet too large for the current student population.

This would mean that the state would now only co-fund a new pre-kindergarten through seventh grade building, leaving the district to pay upwards of $6 million to include the eighth grade in the new facility.

The district also recently learned about the state’s requirement that locally funded initiatives (LFI) not exceed more than 50 percent of the local share of the co-funded project. The planned LFI included adding in space for the eighth grade, a new maintenance building and bus parking, and new athletic facilities.

At the meeting, the district’s architect Mike Reutschle showed the committee several site plan options, including the previously agreed upon K-8 building.

The committee also discussed the possibility of a multi-phase program spread out over several years, and touched upon the idea of undertaking a project without state funding. Tippecanoe High School was a locally funded project completed more than a decade ago.

“Instead of doing a one-phase single building, if you had a multiple building plan, let’s just do one of them now or two of them now, for example,” Reutschle said.

Some residents questioned the need for new facilities if enrollment and the city are not growing.

“It’s really not a space issue so much, as it the condition of Broadway and Nevin-Coppock,” director of services Gary Pfister said. He explained that the infrastructure in the older buildings is such that the district is having a hard time maintaining the buildings “in the condition that we want.”

The committee also discussed the possibility of a new stadium, but several in attendance were not in favor of making athletic facilities a top priority, agreeing that academic space was more important.

Before the next meeting, the committee requested more information from the district about finances and what the district is currently spending on maintaining the existing buildings.

The committee made plans to meet again in August and will announce a date and time later.

By Cecilia Fox